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Posts published in March 2009

Gallery Furniture’s new store is “Uptown”

GALLERY FURNITURE recently opened their second store location, on Post Oak Boulevard in the Uptown/Galleria area. The entry, seen above, features a clever video of owner Jim McIngvale, welcoming you to the store, in a similar manner to the way he does it in person at the entrance to the main store on I-45. The store was designed by noted designer Bill Stubbs, and will carry a mix of furniture from the original store and some upscale designer styles from such lines as Kreiss, Tempur-Pedic, and Drexel Heritage. It occupies 15,000 square feet of space that was originally a Pier 1. An adjacent space will serve as expansion in the future, owner Jim McIngvale said.

Heavy trash collections begin

Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia and the East Aldine Management District hosted the Tasfield Community Cleanup last Saturday at the North East Community Center.

Area residents were encouraged to bring heavy trash and hazardous garden/ garage refuse such as motor oils, batteries, antifreeze, herbicides and pesticides and pool chemicals as well as other dangerous household chemicals such as cleaners, solvents, paints and stains.

Garcia said the trash collection is an important way for residents to dispose of items that while common to households are potentially dangerous to the environment and required extra caution in their disposal.

Harris County Precinct 1 also holds Heavy Trash pickup days. The next scheduled Heavy Trash Day for Precinct 1 will be April 25 for Sequoia Estates. In the event of bad weather it will be moved to May 2.

LSC-North Harris draws 54 entrants for BBQ benefit cook-off

NORTH HARRIS – The Lone Star College North Harris held a fund raiser last Saturday, raising thousands of dollars for the programs and student scholarships in the Applied/Career Technology Center.

The main event was a BBQ Cook-Off, organized by Jerry Pierce and Dwaine Cooper, that drew 54 cooking teams in a 2 day cookoff. Prizes were awarded after a seven person jury tasted and judged all the entries.

This was the 10th year for the event, and it was held in beautiful sunny weather, as compared with last year’s event which was almost blown away by a storm.

Visitors not only were treated to a BBQ cook-off, but participated in a Technology Festival, and got to see the programs and facilities of the Applied/Career Center.

In addition, there was live music and entertainment, amusements for children, door prizes and raffles, and demonstrations in the automotive, engineering, manufacturing, welding and HVAC labs.

Also, the college held a Computer workshop, helping people solve or fix problems with their computers that they brought to the festival.

Proceeds from the event were used for scholarships for students in the Technology school.

WINNERS of the BBQ Cook-Off, First Prizes only, were:

BEANS – Smokin In the Park
CHICKEN – We B Smokin Too
RIBS – Mi Tiera Cookers
BRISKET – Out of Control Cookers

In addition, the following Best of Show Prizes were awarded:

SHOWMANSHIP – Kicken Ashes
RESERVE G.C. – Mi Tiera Cookers
GRAND CHAMPION – Out of Control Cookers

Good things are happening

Last week the Northeast News ran a story about an alleged member of a dog fighting ring being arrested.

Within days a reader, B.J. Salinas, wrote a letter to the editor praising the tipster and law enforcement for the arrest. The writer added the admonition that we must speak out for animals who cannot speak on their own.

This arrest remings me that that good things are happening in the community. We are all encouraged to become change agents for good in our community, to make our community a better place to live and work.

Who’s preyin’ on who?

Sometimes my ole cuz up Montana way sends items of interest about that part of the world. The latest was a newspaper article out of the BILLINGS GAZETTE regarding the use of birds of prey to rid starlings from one of the refineries.

As an admirer of birds, this article struck my fancy.

A refinery in Billings hired a company out of California which uses trained owls, hawks and falcons to rid the massive number of starlings.

In 19 days, the starlings were reduced from about 50,000 to about 50 using 12 different birds of prey.

Don’t go getting all huffy about that as the company does not want to hurt the birds, but simply gives them a fright to go someplace else.

They let the birds of prey out in the afternoon and evening to scare away the unwanted birds.

The article had some interesting facts that you may be interested in:

A hawk’s eyesight is eight times better than a human’s, allowing it to see a rabbit up a mile away.

A European eagle owl can see a hundred times more better than a person and is able to spot a mouse by starlight a football field away… yes more better.

Owl’s claws can exert a thousand pounds per inch compared to a human’s ninety pounds per inch.

An owl’s hearing is so good; it can detect a rat 2 feet under the snow or grass.

They say the birds will stay away until they go back south in the fall.

Sort of like me this past weekend with the Mrs. and grandyoungan looking at a potential fishing hole.

We went up to Liberty County to the Trinity River Wildlife Refuge to check out a fishing spot. The spot off the pier was so-so. I walked down the trail to another pond on the other side and down a bit while the girls went exploring the butterfly trail.

On down a ways this one little pond looked just right and down there I went. Water on both sides and possibly some fish in the one on the left. Eye balling the water and banks I gandered upon a rather large gator as it was eyeing balling me big time.

Like those birds leaving the refinery, you can have this place!

East Aldine District simplifies name, gets sewer/water funding approval

EAST ALDINE – It’s been known as the “Improvement District” and the “Management District.” Now just call it by it’s nickname, the “District.” In a move to simplify and strengthen the area’s identity, the board decided last week to use the new term on its signage, planned to go up around the perimeter of the district in the near future.

In other board action, the financial report was reviewed, and the status of a bond sale and grant funding was heard.

Accountant Jack Roland reported that sales tax receipts for the month of March were up 11.5% from the previous year. This means the district received $281,991 from sales tax collected in February by the state. For the year to date, the state has forwarded $986,446 to the district. The projection for the whole year is expected to be almost $4 million.

Discussion ensued on the status of bond sales, and grants to accomplish the sewer and water projects for the District.

Executive Director David Hawes reported that TCEQ, the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, has given approval to issue about $13 million in revenue bonds, to be used for new sewer and water lines in the area east of US59 known as Service Zone 11, and North Houston Heights. The bonds will also be used for about $2.7 million of Transportation and Mobility projects, according to the TCEQ documents.

In addition, the TWDB, or Texas Water Development Board, has put on its agenda for early action, a grant of $450,000 to be used by the EAMD for two subdivisions water and sewer lines. These are Sherwood and Benton Place. This money would be matched by a later grant of $3.5 million for construction, according to Hawes.

A new committee structure for the board was announced. There will now be a Mobility and Transportation Committee, headed by Art Murillo; an Environmental and Urban Design Committee, headed by Debra Foster; and a Facility Development Committee, headed by Bill Townsend. The latter committee will be investigating the potential for constructing a multi-service center in the district to house a number of agencies, educational institutions, social service agencies, government offices, and the district offices. Plans for this facility are only in a very preliminary discussion at this time.

The sheriff’s office reported that they were looking into equipment to analyze noise, which could be used in conjunction with new legislation that may be passed in Austin to help abate the noise problem.

Reports were received from the Proactive Sheriff’s unit, the Nuisance abatement officer, Grafitti abatement, Neighborhood Clean-up, Bike Patrol, and Economic Development directors. Residents can contact the abatement officer at 281-449-1800, or the Director of Services at 713-595-1220.

HCC chancellor will meet with North Forest families at April 9 breakfast

What does the future hold for Northeast Houston?

Dr. Mary S. Spangler, Chancellor of Houston Community College will address this issue on April 9 during a breakfast at the former Forest Brook High School Cafeteria, located at 7525 Tidwell Road.

Spangler will focus the discussion on “HCC’s Economic Impact of Education in the North Forest Community.”

The breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

A Breakfast Menu of Peppered Bacon & Breakfast Links in Gravy, Potatoes O’Brien, Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Buttermilk & Honey Biscuits with Orange Blossom Honey Jelly, Grits, Coffee & Assorted Juices will be served.

Because of limited seating, an RSVP is required.

Please RSVP to the HCC Northeast-Office of Public Relations at (713)718-8021 by April 6th.

North Forest proposes major reductions in facilities

More school closures and consolidations are in the future for North Forest ISD.

Dr. Adrain Johnson, superintendent of schools, said that everyone in the community wants better schools, improved facilities and “quality programs executed by highly qualified, dedicated and passionate teachers.”

In order to realize the goal, he said sacrifices must be made.

“Our resources are stretched, and we will not be able to compete until we start making the best use of our facilities and funds,” Johnson said.

The school district plans to close facilities and create new attendance zones. During the 2009-10 school year, North Forest expects to operate one high school, two middle schools and five elementary campuses.

Specific changes include combining the district’s early childhood education program with one all-day, Pre-K program at Thurgood Marshall Elementary. Lakewood and W.E. Rogers Elementaries will be closed. A new elementary school will open at the facility that now houses Oak Village Middle School.

R.E. Kirby will also be closed. The district plans to use the former Forest Brook High School campus to house middle school students.

Johnson added that the district would be rezoned to “redistribute and rebalance enrollment among the district’s schools.” The Learning Academy, which houses this Suburban Street facility, will be closed and the program will be moved to another site, which has not be announced.

This relocation and closure plan is pending school board approval.

Former president visits new Gallery Furniture

Former President George H.W. Bush paid a surprise visit last week to the new Gallery Furniture, which opened on Post Oak at Westheimer in Houston.

The visit was an impromptu stop, as President Bush wanted to see the latest entrepreneurial venture of his valued friend, owner Jim McIngvale.

McIngvale toured President Bush around the 15,000 square foot store that features collections from famous manufacturers such as Kreiss, Drexel Heritage and Tempur-Pedic. The store was designed by noted interior designer Bill Stubbs.

The two men have had a long history of partnering together in many philanthropic ventures from Tsunami Relief for those halfway around the word to Hurricane aid for those devastated by the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

A spokesperson for Former President Bush said that he was proud of the success of McIngvale’s new location.

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is amazing

“Slumdog Millionaire” — Winner of eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture), “Slumdog Millionaire” is an uplifting tale of love and triumph set against the backdrop of the violent and poverty-stricken streets of Mumbai, India.

The film opens with a young man, Jamal (Dev Patel), who is on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”. He has answered every question correctly and is only one answer away from winning the grand prize. Because Jamal is an orphan and comes from such a poor background, it is assumed that he is somehow cheating, so he is brutally interrogated by the police to find out how he can possibly know the answers to such hard questions.

And so the film unfolds in a series of flashbacks of events in Jamal’s life that illustrate how he came to know the answers to questions — from the death of his mother, which leaves Jamal and his brother homeless and poor on the streets of Mumbai, to their escape from a Fagin-like character who wants to lead the boys into a life of crime, to Jamal’s search for his lost childhood-love Latika (Freida Pinto).

“Slumdog Millionaire” is an amazing movie that mixes humor and brutality without compromising the integrity of the characters, and still manages to get away with a Bollywood dance number at the end. Brilliant.

“The IT Crowd: The Complete Season One” — One of Britain’s funniest TV series is finally on DVD in America. Until now fans had to resort to illicit Internet downloads or ponying up the cash to watch the show on IFC.

Written and directed by Graham Linehan (“Father Ted”), “The IT Crowd” is a hilarious sitcom that revolves around the misadventures of two socially inept geeks who work for the IT support team of a huge multinational corporation that is run by a complete moron. If you’re a fan of British comedies like “The Mighty Boosh” or “The Office,” then you definitely need to check this out.